The Child Mental Health Charter Campaign continues to put pressure on the UK Government to keep Boris Johnson’s promise of the 19th December 2019 Queens’ Speech by introducing a reform of the 1983 Mental Health Act during the course of this parliament.
It is essential that the Prime Minister delivers on this vital pledge to the nation because it provides a unique opportunity to enshrine measures to protect the urgent mental health needs of children in legislation.
THIS WILL BE A NATIONAL ‘FIRST’
However, we are now in the midst of an unprecedented pandemic and far from being attentive to itspotential to devastate children’s emotional health and wellbeing, the Government’s approach appears to be to ignore this crucial aspect of Covid-19.
Therefore our new Early Day Motion 923 (EDM) calls upon the Government to announce a Covid-19 Mental Health Recovery Strategy which prioritises the needs of children.
You can read the Motion here and see the names of MPs who have signed it to date.
Please write to your own MP and ask them to sign the EDM as well.
Some MPs will be happy to do so. Others will say that they ‘do not sign EDMs.’ In this case, please reply (don’t take ‘no’ for an answer) and ask them to write a letter to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock, calling upon him to announce a Strategy as of urgency. This is important because:
- The Mental Health of Children and Young People in England Survey published by NHS Digital on 22nd October has found that the proportion of children with mental health problems is now 50% higher than before the pandemic
- One in six children have a condition such as anxiety, depression or loneliness
- Tamsin Ford, Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Cambridge University says that the ‘significant deterioration’ in children’s mental health is likely to be linked to lockdown. We cannot be at all sure that either a full scale national lockdown or a series of regional and/or circuit-breaker lockdowns may not be with us sooner rather than later
- About five children in an average class size of thirty will ‘probably’ have a mental health disorder now
- The increase in mental health problems among children is more marked in children of primary age and of these, more in boys of 5-10 years of age than girls
- Children aged 5-16 with a probable mental health disorder are more likely to live in an economically deprived household or one that has fallen behind with payment commitments during the pandemic
- Children’s Commissioner for England, Anne Longfield called for ‘a children’s mental health service that is properly funded with no postcode lottery.’
Please contact me direct if you have further queries on firstname.lastname@example.org and do send me all replies from MPs.
Even if these are negative, they are of help to us.
I am extremely grateful to the registrant who contacted me in October with a response from her MP and a request for suggestions for follow-up. This is exactly what we need and I look forward to more!
Helen Clark: Campaign Manager, The Child Mental Health Charter Campaign.